Updated: Aug 25, 2020
By Karla R. Jensen
If you are a writer and have not heard about November’s annual National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short), here’s your chance to get involved. If you have heard of it, maybe you’ve avoided it. If you’ve already participated, then you know what a wonderful, terrifying, crazy, hard, hair-raising, mind-boggling and mind -blowing experience this challenge is.
Here’s the easy part: write 1500 words a day, every day, for the month of November. By the time December rolls around, you’ll be able to put down your pen or computer and put up your Christmas tree or holiday decorations. You’ll have the scaffolding of a 50,000-word novel.
Here’s the hard part: for the next year, you are the hired hand to edit this; your own words, your own beautiful, blood-sweat-and tears words, that you poured forth from your own mind, body and soul. Take down that scaffolding you put up to create the story, leaving only the best parts behind and really step up your game to add components every story requires – dialogue, analogies, showing not telling, active voice rather than passive, the five senses. The results of NaNoWriMo are your child, to love, grow and nurture until your writing grows legs of its own and runs straight into the arms of an agent, a publisher, or an audience.
My best advice is to try sticking your little toes into NaNoWriMo. If you can’t make 50,000 words the first time around, get to 15,000, or 23,000. You’ll learn how to either let the muse carry you forth and write like a bad ass JK Rowling, or you’ll hurt so good, step by step, day by day, hour by hour, learning how to outline, develop characters, toss in some red herrings, and masterfully design some cliff hanger endings.
NaNoWriMo is a gourmet delight of your own making, in your own kitchen (at home, in a coffee shop, in your car, on lunch break at work, at the beach). Doesn’t matter whether it’s straight up fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, romance, steampunk, alternative history, Young Adult, or even non-fiction. Your imagination is the secret ingredient. Your plot lines are the utensils, your characters the yeast that will help you grow your level and expertise of writing. If you are interested in find a group of writers to support you in the 2020 NaNoWriMo, Writers Espresso is here to help. Find us on Facebook.